Chris Brown concert makes HRM mayor 'kind of sick'
Published Saturday, July 13, 2013 9:58PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2013 3:45PM ADT
The thought of Chris Brown headlining an upcoming concert in Dartmouth makes HRM Mayor Mike Savage “sick.”
On Saturday, Savage added his voice to a chorus of boos aimed squarely at the American R&B star scheduled to headline the Energy Rush concert at Alderney Landing on Aug. 31.
“It makes me kind of sick, to be honest with you, that someone like this will be performing in Halifax,” Savage said in an interview on Saturday.
Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community labour for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
The mayor’s denouncement comes amid growing public protest against the concert; an online petition to remove Brown from the concert list was launched Saturday.
“Chris Brown is a women beater with a known temper as seen in many interviews. As a city, we should not have to have any of our money or reputation being used to support any artists like him,” said the petition, posted by Halifax resident Nichole Snow.
As of 8:30 a.m. Monday, 750 people had signed the petition.
“Halifax is bringing him in, they're saying, we don't care about your past, we just want the money that you can potentially bring in, and I don't think that's a good message for anybody," says Halifax resident Scott Peach.
"I definitely didn't forgive him,” says Halifax resident Heather Stanhope. “It seems like the music community has, but I wasn't excited to hear he was coming, I’d rather they get someone else."
Joanne Bernard works with victims of domestic violence at Alice Housing. She says inviting Brown to perform sends the wrong message.
“Every young person who's going to be there that night is not only listening to his music,” explains Bernard. “They're also listening and aware that this man has viciously assaulted his intimate partner a few years ago.”
While many are opposed, others are willing to give the 24-year-old singer a second chance.
"I think it'll be kind of cool to see him, he's great at performing," says Morgan White, a long-time Chris Brown fan.
"I have two teenage daughters that will probably go to see him," says mother Renee White.
Opinion is not only divided with music fans; event sponsors have also needed to make big decisions after the announcement.
Despite Brown’s massive record sales and slew of number one hits, seven-time sponsor Rogers Communications has withdrawn as a top supporter of the concert at Alderney Landing.
“Rogers agreed to sponsor Energy Rush prior to Chris Brown's choice as a performer. In light of yesterday's announcement, we're withdrawing our sponsorship of the event," said Rogers spokesperson Heather Robinson in a statement to CTV News.
Despite Rogers' decision to back out, concert promoters say the show will go on no matter what.
"It's not my position to defend or endorse any of Chris Brown's past behavior,” says Stephen Tobin, owner of Drop Entertainment. “In this case, what we are promoting is the fact that Chris Brown is a multi-platinum award winning artist of international calibre."
Tobin remains confident in ticket sales and says those who are displeased with Brown don't need to buy a ticket.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, July 17.
Drop Entertainment says Brown will also headline a second Maritime concert this summer. Tobin says details will be released within the week.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau